Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Go West, Young Man. Again.

More photos, by the way. Of the out east part of the trip. May be more to come as well. I'll let you know...

From Fogo we headed south-east some more, to St John's, the largest town in the Newfie province. We spent a night with our friend Mike's sister and family, just outside the city proper, where we were fed the largest spare ribs meal of my life, and bloody good it was too! They certainly know how to put on a spread in Newfoundland, that's for sure!

From there, it was short drive to the main city, and a few nights with Andy and Lori Delaney and family. Andy is Rosemary (from Salt Spring
Island)'s son (and so my cousin-in-law), and they were, simply, awesome. Such a nice family, with 3 lads all about teenage status, and none of the sulky or belligerent or any of the other normal things you'd expect from 3 teenage lads. They were all at the top of whatever chosen pursuits they had (soccer, running and chess), and the home environment created by Andy and Lori was one of the most comfortable, friendly and welcoming I have ever encountered.

While in St John's we went out to Cape Spear, the eastern most point in North America, thus concluding my east-west challenge. OK, so I didn't get to the westerly most point of North America, but Tofino was a pretty good effort. Canada doesn't go much wester than that.

At Cape Spear, we watched from the cliff tops as numerous whales spouted, gannets dived, porpoises dodged, and puffins wheezed out at sea. Then the fog rolled in and hid everything.

It's an interesting place, though, St John's. It has burned down twice in its history, most recently in the late 1800's, and there are only a few original buildings left in a city that was first settled in the early 1700's. Luckily, one of these is now a micro brewery that runs out of a pub called Yellow Bellys and produces fantastic lagers, reds and stouts. Trust me, I did some research.

By this stage in the trip, I was over most stuff, so a trip out on a boat to see whales and puffins - which I had done already else where - was not doing it for me. Neither was walking around the streets for hours at a time. In fact a second brewery tour at the Quidi Vidi brewery was about all I cared to do, and that too was worth the time. I met the Newfie equivalent of a mate from work - Ollie Olsen - giving the tour, with the same exact mannerisms and cheeky patter that Ollie uses on his cruise ship tours. I would have given anything to see Ollie and and his Newfie doppleganger come face to face. Alas, it was not to be. I had another beer instead.

On the Friday morning I dropped Smitch off at the airport, and was sad to see her go. I had enjoyed her company a lot, even allowing for my growing grumpiness at having been on the road so long, and my dwindling energy levels, and I hope she realises how grateful I was for her company and organisation of this leg of the trip.

Without her now, I am high-tailing it to Montreal. So far I have stopped in Moncton to catch up on the Bay of Fundy and the highest tides in the world. It was an interesting place to visit - you have to go twice to see both high and
low tides - but I felt slightly misled by what I had read about the place. I had been expecting the flowerpot rock formations to get nearly drowned in the tide, leaving just the vegetative tops of the rock pillars on view, like a series of small islands, their rocky stalks being revealed at low tide. Instead, they were permanently on display, but sometimes had water around the bottom of them. No matter, it was a nice enough place anyway.

From there, I took the long way, via Fundy National Park, to Fredericton (don't bother, its not worth it), and today ended up back in Quebec for the night, in the middle of a thunder storm. Tomorrow I get to Montreal, where I have 3 nights of comedy shows to occupy me, and who knows what during the days. Sleep most likely. I should be back in Waterloo by Sunday at the latest, and will then have week or so to recover before my 8 day canoe trip. Bit nervous about that - I've never been on an 8 day camping trip before, let alone one that includes carrying boats when the water runs out. I feel a dodgy back coming on again.....

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